In our Gospel today it says in verse 21 “She will give birth to a son,” and as I was reflecting on this verse it reminded me of the miracle of birth. The miracle of birth is one of God’s greatest miracles and one of God’s greatest blessings. Every birth is a reminder that people are the masterpiece of God’s creation.
The birth of my own son Andrew was indeed a miracle from God. To hold a new born baby in my arms is such an incredible feeling……. as I saw this incredible gift of God’s creation and just this sense of gratitude swept over my entire body. The long process of my wife birthing a child and finally culminating in a beautiful baby boy…….was an experience I will remember the rest of my life.
So back to verse 21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save people from their sins.”So at this stage it was told to Joseph……… that Mary was going to bear a child………… and that child had been begotten by the Holy Spirit….. and that he must be called Jesus.
Matthew 1:23 quotes Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This is an ancient prophecy written over 700 years before…….. that Mary would conceive and bear a son, Immanuel the Christ. Matthew included the prophecy to assert the divinity of Jesus.
The name Jesus (Yahweh saves) describes what Jesus does; Immanuel (God with us) describes who Jesus is. Imagine with me…..A God, who is right here with us, a non-material dimension of reality that surrounds us and everything around us……….. God is not somewhere else…… but all around us………… He is “the one in whom we live and move and have our being.”
A long time ago the Psalmist had heard God say, “He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins,” Psalm 130:8). And Joseph was told that the child to be born would grow into the Savior who would save God’s people from their sins……………We worship Jesus as our Savior…………..we worship Jesus as the Man born to be the King…………. and we worship Jesus as the man born to be the Messiah…… He came into this world, for our salvation.
In our story today Joseph had a difficult decision to make after discovering Mary was pregnant. Although he knew that taking Mary for his wife could be humiliating, Joseph chooses to obey the angels command to marry her……… and this really shows Joseph’s admirable qualities of;
- His righteousness…….Righteousness matters to God…..
- His discretion and sensitivity
- His responsiveness to God and His self-discipline in obeying the angel without question.
This passage tells us that Jesus was born by the action of the Holy Spirit. According to the Jewish idea, the Holy Spirit was the person who brought God’s truth to men. It was the Holy Spirit who taught the prophets what to say; it was the Holy Spirit who taught men and women what to do, it was the Holy Spirit who, throughout the ages and the generations, brought God’s truth to men and women. So then, Jesus is the one person who brings truth to all of us.
Let us put it another way. Jesus is the one person who can tell us what God is like……… and what God means us to be. In him alone…….. We see what God is and what men and woman ought to be. Before Jesus came men had only vague idea of who God is………… only a shadow of who God is…………………. and most often they were quite wrong with their ideas about God; they can only at best guess………. who God is.
Jesus said to the people, “He who as seen me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9). In Jesus we see the love, the compassion, the mercy, the heart, the purity of God as nowhere else in the world. With the coming of Jesus the time of guessing is gone, and the time of certainty is come.
Before Jesus came men did not know what goodness was. In Jesus alone we see true goodness, and true obedience to the will of God. Jesus came to tell us the truth about God and the truth about ourselves. Jesus can open our eyes to the truth.
In our story today it tells us about the Virgin Birth. Why is the virgin birth important to the Christian faith? Because Jesus Christ, God’s Son, he had to be free from the sinful nature passed on to all other human beings in Adam.
Because Jesus was born of a woman, he was a human being; but as the Son of God, Jesus was born without any trace of human sin. Jesus is both fully human and fully God.
Imagine….There must have been all of heaven perched at the edge of the sky watching and waiting to see more Hope delivered in Jesus than anyone could ever imagine!
In our story today….Hope is Born! Hope is born in the birth of a baby….baby Jesus. John 1:9 says, “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”
During that period of time, we see a people living in darkness…..living in the valley of the shadow of death.
They were estranged from God? Is this you? Are you struggling in the darkness?
Yet….out of the darkness…….when there was only emptiness…..
God spoke forth……LIGHT! People were not really alive in the LIGHT of God……..they were in a cloud of darkness spiritually,
So from within the darkness of the earth……God brought forth……LIFE! He is the Author of Life!
After all that dark and storming flood during Noah’s time…….and adrift on the sea for 40 nights…….
And from out of God’s hand came…..A PROMISE!
After the darkness of the wilderness during the Exodus from Egypt, and after 40 years of wondering around the desert, and the people desperately trying to hold onto to faith he gave ……..A PROMISED LAND!
From the darkness of a mother’s womb…..with all the questions and all the expectations……God formed; A CHILD! The Bread of Life!
From the darkness of a silent night, a holy night, where all is calm and all is bright…….when it seemed that the voice of God was unheard……..when it seemed that the hand of God was unseen…..
Louder: That silence was broken…….shattered….by the cries of a baby; A SON, A SAVIOR, IMMANUEL, meaning God with us! Unthinkable darkness is shattered by unbearable LIGHT.
God is sending the Light of Heaven into the dark of this World, to the lost, to the found, to the weak, and to the strong.
The Spirit is the Creator of the world and the Giver of life. So then, in Jesus there came into the world God’s life giving; POWER!
That power, which reduced the chaos of the world, and brought order, and has come to bring order to our lives.
That power, which breathed life into that in which there was no life, is come to breathe life into our weaknesses and frustrations, giving us; TRUTH!
God wastes nothing, not even our darkness……For we know….for those who love God…even in our times of darkness, God is working for our good.
So today, in the midst of any darkness you may feel……… Know this! A new life has been born!
Hope is not lost! Hope is never lost! Things will be O.K. with Jesus in our life.
Hope is BORN! It is born through our Savior Jesus Christ! A real lasting hope!
There is always hope for the hopeless. As Jesus is the Light of the World! Guiding us, warming us, and comforting us. Amen. Video starts…….